We’re walking the Camino de Santiago in June 2022. Come along with us!

Day 5: The Camino will provide

There’s a saying around here: “The Camino will provide.” The idea is that you don’t have to worry, because if something goes wrong, something will go right to correct it. (Cfr Seinfeld’s Even Steven.) There’s also a Bible verse that (sort of) follows this concept: Don’t worry about tomorrow—each day has enough trouble of its own. (God clearly has a sense of humor.)

On Day 5, we saw this concept in action.

Today was supposed to be an easy day out of Ponferrada and into wine country. Somehow—I guess because we took the more rustic path through vineyards and not the paved road—we ended up doing 17 miles instead of 12ish. And lo, it was not easy. Several times, I saw the town laid out below and thought Thank God, we’re almost there only to have that be another town or no town at all, but just a random building nestled in the hillside.

Leaving Ponferrada.
More countryside.
Terraced hillsides.

But I guess this was a case of the Camino providing, because somehow I made each one of those steps. My knee (taped tightly) held up, and my walking sticks saved my toosh more than once, and we arrived in charming Villafranca del Bierzo sweaty and exhausted, our Fitbits registering 40,000+ steps.

We made our way to the albergue and were met by the owner and her lovely dog. (So many dogs!) But while Will produced his passport, I could tell from the frozen look on the woman’s face that something was wrong. And then I read (upside down, a teacher skill), as she typed into her translation app No hay habitaciones.

There are no rooms! I gasped.

We tried to explain “tenemos reservas” and that we’d already paid, but alas—we were out of luck. I turned to Will. Maybe the Camino would provide a private hotel room?

And, thanks to booking.com and thirty-five additional euros and Will’s quick thinking, the Camino did provide.

Maybe you can tell that I’m still a skeptic.

The worst part of today was the horrible ten minutes between leaving overbooked albergue #1 and finding the 17th centenary monastery where we ended up. So many stairs, steps, ramps… I thought it might never end.

But the monastery is pretty cool, even the tub with the three-foot lip that required an extreme act of will to scale. (The Caminó will provide.) The whole place has a very austere, no-fraternizing vibe, somewhat tempered by the dozens of pilgrims wandering the hall looking for la lavandería and calling out, “Buen Camino!” as we pass.

Inside the monastery

It’s 9 pm now and I’m eating a non-pilgrim meal—pizza with goat cheese—drinking vino tinto and trying to keep my eyelids open. Will’s second course —lamb cutlets—hasn’t arrived yet, so he took my phone to the other side of the square to make a phone call to the States. A random beagle (oh, my heart!) is wandering under the cafe tables, looking for scraps. Members of our Camino family are everywhere in their quick-dry clothes and Tevas, drinking wine and ordering dessert.

In other news, we hit up a farmacia for ibuprofen, since I brought only enough for myself and my traveling companion insisted he didn’t need any. The pills we were handed are 600mg. (The Caminó will provide.)

Also, at age 49, Will DeBoard did his first load of laundry*. (The Caminó will provide.)

And I had a terrifying moment where I was locked in a bathroom during our lunch stop, but then I remembered that Spanish locks are weird and you have to turn twice hard to the right (or is it the left?). Eventually I broke free in front of a startled patron. (The Caminó will provide.)

* He disputes this fact, but who are you going to believe?

Plaza Mayor in Villafranca de Bierzo

One response to “Day 5: The Camino will provide”

  1. Fun to read. I am not up to that level of walking so I have to do it vicariously.


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